St. Vrain students learn design process at Innovation Academy

St. Vrain Valley students took over multiple rooms at IBM's campus in Boulder as they used cardboard, duct tape, pipe cleaners and various other bits and pieces to build prototypes to create a "smarter planet."

Caeley Merry, who will be a sixth-grader at Erie Middle School, dreamed up a hurricane shelter with layers of fail safes that include a bubble cover to allow floating and escape pods so that "it's pretty hard to die."

"This is awesome," she said. "There are so many materials for you to use. There are bottle caps and circuit boards and even a dead computer."

The 240 students, entering first through sixth grades, are enrolled in the two-week summer Innovation Academy, a collaboration between the St. Vrain Valley School District and IBM that's in its fifth year.

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Students Aiden Phelan, left, and Dacen Wach work with Vex robots on Thursday morning as a part of IBM and St. Vrain Valley Schools' annual summer program Innovation Academy for a Smarter Planet. (Ryan Gooding / For the Camera)